Thursday, April 09, 2009

Last of the North Island Frolicks (with the rents)...

Camping at the base of the Tongariro Crossing (April 2nd) was sooooo freezing butt cold. We woke up to shivers and wind gusts galore. This gave us the impression that the hike would be frigid and slightly miserable. We started the morning off by pouring hot food and liquid down our esophagi and bundling up in 9 or so layers. These layers were quickly shed, however, as the sun soon rose high and mighty with nary a cloud in the sky! It turned out to be an absolutely beautiful day.

Between our families, this was the fourth Tongariro trip, but fear not, that didn’t stop us from continuing our camera happy ways. Let’s take a gander at the beautiful scenery…

(Lowell is showing off a slice of dried kiwi fruit. Quite a delightful little treat on a hike!)

Lowell is laying on the ground taking the picture of the rents with their poles up in the air. My parents returned the favour from their vantage point... and that's how the above picture of us exists!

Instead of hiking 20kms straight through the crossing, we went 10kms to the Emerald Lakes, then turned around and hiked back. It was soooo much more enjoyable and easier on the knees than going straight across. Plus, that way we had trusty Gus ready for us rather than sitting for an hour in an unfamiliar shuttle while waiting for a Swedish dude who misunderstood our expected time of departure.

Seen enough pictures of Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings yet?

20kms and 6 hours later, we made it back to good ol Gus. Dad and I then alternated driving as we drove 4.5 hours to Wellington- NZ’s capital city.

We pulled into the Top 10, cleaned up, ate up, and snuggled in for a comfy sleep. In the morning, Mom invented a delicious pancake recipe in the luxurious communal kitchen while I huddled by the heater drinking coffee. I do help, really, but Mom loves it, so who am I to deprive her of this pleasure and joy?! :)

While in Wellington, we visited the incredibly informative and entertaining Te Papa museum (NZ's national museum) where we enjoyed a 3D movie about the collossal squid. This was a very fashion forward moment for the 'rents.

We then took the cable car to the top of the botanical gardens, and strolled through the gardens to the parliament buildings.

I have no idea why it existed, but there was a random straw hut in the gardens. I naturally became the big bad wolf and attempted to blow the house down. Poor little piggies didn't know what hit 'em.

Lowell loves his cacti...

My Mom has a huge soft spot for roses because a) they're really pretty, and b) Rose is her maiden name. She thoroughly enjoyed frolicking through the rose garden.

(The parliament buildings)

Finally, we meandered along Queen’s Wharf…

By the way, I'm very impressed by those of you (*cough cough* Alisha) who noticed my Dad's lack of mustache. He shaved it briefly about 10 years ago, but otherwise none of us have known him without it... including Mom. It was a spontaneous decision for him to shave it here in NZ, and it was a little secret between him and Mom. Although trust you me, it did not take long for us kids to notice. We all have grown quite used to it, and I believe Mom has forbade him to grow it back. She enjoys kissing him like this (not that she didn't before... too much information?... yes I think so.)

Anyhoo, after dinner at McDonald’s (*gasp*), we set up camp at Te Papa’s parking lot. This was toootally legal (we even asked)… but who knew that the museum’s lot really came alive on a Friday night? At 8pm, young men started trickling in to crank their dance music and show off their moves. They actually did look really cool, but the music made for some interesting sleepy time ambiance. The addition of the skateboarders at 1am made it even more exciting.

Despite the kiddies partying all around us ‘till the wee hours of the morn, we still slept surprisingly well. The museum is located close to the ferries, so when we woke up in the morning, we transformed Gus from a sleep mobile to a bus and plopped our rears in the seats to catch our 8:15am ferry to Picton on the South Island.

Leaving the North Island…

Approaching the South Island…

And a little napping in between…

Our next post will come to you completely from the South Island. Toodles!

5 comments :

Alisha said...

I love LOVE the picture of your mum by the rose. Gorgeous! Both her and the flower!

Shelley said...

love it! more more more!

marcandorkylie said...

Looks like you guys had a great time!! Can't believe your parents are gone already. Where oh where did you find dried kiwi fruit, we looked ALL OVER the country for it!! Enjoy your alone time.
Love, Kylie

Bloggy Mama said...

Totally amazing pictures.

Joni said...

ooohhhh...how was the tramp back UP the ridge from emerald lakes?